Whiteside: From nice story to necessity

March, 5, 2015
Mar 5
3:13
AM ET
Gutierrez By Israel Gutierrez
ESPN.com
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MIAMI -- There was a moment in the second half of Wednesday's Los Angeles Lakers-Miami Heat contest when Hassan Whiteside looked like he might wrestle again.

Monday against the Phoenix Suns, Whiteside's takedown of Alex Len cost him $15,000.

This time, when Ed Davis brought the Heat big man down with a rather routine foul, Whiteside restrained himself after quickly bouncing off the floor, walking away from Davis rather than throwing a shoulder into his waist.

There was another moment when Whiteside laid on the floor for an entire defensive possession after Jordan Hill caught him in the face with an elbow. Once again, Whiteside shook that off without incident.

[+] EnlargeHassan Whiteside
Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images Hassan Whiteside posted his fourth 20-rebound game of the season on Wednesday against the Lakers.
The 25-year-old phenom did manage to tack on another technical foul to his tally, saying one too many words to an official on his way to the bench for a third-quarter timeout.

And it was there, in a five-point game, that, like in every other Heat game that means a lot to their playoff chances, Dwyane Wade let young Whiteside know it was time to simmer down and suck it up.

"It's my job to be on him," Wade said. "It's my job to let him go, as well, at certain times. But he respects me enough, from what I've done in this league and who I've played with in this league, to listen when I do approach him. We have a good relationship from that standpoint.

"When he gets mad enough, he'll dunk it over everybody, but with that, he's got to understand what's gonna come: some hard fouls. He's gonna have to go back and look at the Shaqs of the world, the guys before him that do things like that, and see how they had to present themselves and keep themselves calm. But he's very, very, very important to this team's success."

And this is where the Miami Heat are: a team in transition, again, that needs Whiteside to keep it together so this team can keep it together and reach the postseason in this tumultuous start to the post-LeBron James era. Because when Whiteside does keep his head, when he does brush off the hard fouls and the no-calls and ignores the fact he doesn't get post touches often, he can be dominant.

He was exactly that Wednesday, especially late in a contest the Lakers tried to steal (or maybe a game they successfully gave away, depending on your theory on the Lakers' tanking efforts) in the final minutes.

After re-entering the game for the final time with 7:29 left in the fourth and the Lakers leading 84-81, Whiteside grabbed nine of his career-high 25 rebounds and scored eight of his 18 points, including a massive finish off a Wade lob with 57 seconds remaining. Whiteside added four blocks to his massive rebounding total, which is second only to Rony Seikaly's 34 for most boards in a game in Heat history.

But it was the emotional restraint -- the type he didn't show when retaliating toward Len -- that allowed Whiteside to shine in the closer role.

"It just basically got to the point where there's nothing I can do," Whiteside said. "I can't control any of that. There ain't nothing I can do about the technical. It's just more money lost.

"Guys, they're gonna beat me up every day. I guess that's the scouting report."

Interestingly, there isn't much more of a scouting report to be had on Miami at the moment. Goran Dragic played just his seventh game with Miami, Wade is still shaking off the rust from his most recent hamstring-related layoff, and in-season additions Henry Walker, Michael Beasley and Tyler Johnson are getting regular minutes while learning on the fly.

It's all the more reason Whiteside has gone from inspirational story to absolute necessity for Miami.

There's been very little consistency in the Heat's game since Dragic made his Miami debut on Feb. 21. But in that 4-3 span for Miami, Whiteside has averaged 14.7 points, 15.6 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and shot 61 percent from the floor.

If he's doing that, Wade and Dragic can essentially take turns being aggressive and discovering a chemistry. And the Heat in general can unearth an identity while not falling out of the playoff picture.

Dragic said he paid attention to Whiteside while he was still playing with Phoenix, especially after Whiteside's triple-double game against the Bulls in Chicago on Jan. 25. The league's reigning most improved player said he's never played with anyone like Whiteside, however, and he's finding it very much to his liking.

"Maybe with Shaq, but he was already old," Dragic said with a laugh. "It's crazy. It looks so easy for him to get 20 points and 25 rebounds. It's unbelievable.

"This is my seventh game here, and it's much easier to get to the rim than in Phoenix because he's so dominant. The big guys have to make a decision, whether they're going to pick me or go back to him. And then, you just read it."

Based on that spectacular lob and finish in the game's final minute, it's safe to say Wade has a good grasp of reading defenses when running the pick-and-roll with Whiteside.

And Wade is starting to get a grasp of the type of talent he's playing alongside as well.

"He's what you call 'special,'" Wade said. "He's so long, man. Everything that comes off the rim, he gets an opportunity to touch it. They gotta put three guys on him, sometimes, to stop him."

On Monday, extra physical activity got Whiteside ejected. Wednesday, it brought out the best in him -- perhaps another sign of development in what has been a sudden and most impressive growth spurt.

Heat In Playoffs?

March, 4, 2015
Mar 4
11:50
PM ET


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The "NBA Countdown" crew discusses if the Heat will make the playoffs.
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MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade scored 25 points and added six assists, Hassan Whiteside grabbed 25 rebounds and the Miami Heat rallied to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 100-94 on Wednesday night.

Wade's last two assists set up Whiteside for crucial scores in the final moments. The Heat held on to the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race and posted two straight home wins for the first time in more than four months.

Goran Dragic scored 21 points and Whiteside finished with 18 for the Heat, who got 15 from Luol Deng and won for just the fifth time in 26 games when trailing at halftime.

Ed Davis had 14 points and 12 rebounds, Wayne Ellington scored 14 points and Jordan Hill had a 13-point, 10-rebound night for the Lakers.


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Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade got some air and delivered a two-hand slam dunk against the Los Angeles Lakers.
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Ray Allen announced Wednesday that he will not play this season but stopped short of declaring himself retired, saying he will reassess his options next season.

"Over the past several months, I have taken a lot of time to deliberate what is best for me," Allen said in a statement released by his agent. "I've ultimately decided that I will not play this NBA season. I'm going to take the remainder of this season, as well as the upcoming off-season, to reassess my situation, spend time with my family and determine if I will play in the 2015-16 season."

At the conclusion of the 2014 NBA Finals, Allen made it clear he felt content and was unsure he would play again. However, numerous teams made contract offers and tracked him for months, in some cases leaving roster spots open for when he indicated he was ready to play again.

Allen continued to work out at his home in Miami, and at certain points in the season, teams courting him felt confident he would rejoin the league for a 19th season. The Cleveland Cavaliers, who have three of Allen's former Miami Heat teammates including LeBron James, were especially hopeful they could get Allen to sign. James met with Allen in January as he was rehabbing injuries in South Florida.

But while Allen kept the door open, teams started moving on around the trade deadline as it started to appear that Allen was going to sit the season out after he didn't make a commitment following the All-Star break. He made it official in a release from his agency, Tandem.

"Ray has received enormous interest from a number of NBA teams throughout this season," his agent Jim Tanner said in the statement. "We will communicate with interested teams as Ray makes a decision for the 2015-16 season."


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TrueHoop TV Live

March, 4, 2015
Mar 4
12:36
PM ET
Strauss By Ethan Sherwood Strauss
ESPN.com
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We're video chatting at 2 p.m. ET ...

4-point play: Lakers vs. Heat

March, 4, 2015
Mar 4
9:09
AM ET
Alamar By Ben Alamar
ESPN.com
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Issac Baldizon/NBAE/Getty ImagesGoran Dragic has been getting to the free throw line more since joining the Heat.
The 4-Point Play looks at the four analytics-based storylines that will make you smarter when watching Wednesday’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers (26th in BPI) and the Miami Heat (18th in BPI) at 8PM ET on ESPN. Our BPI gives the Heat a 73 percent chance of winning.

1. The Miami Heat are projected to win 37 games, have a 60 percent chance of making the playoffs, and have the second-easiest remaining schedule, according to ESPN's BPI.

2. Goran Dragic has a career average of 4.2 free throw attempts per 36 minutes, but was getting a career low of 2.9 free throws per 36 minutes this season in Phoenix. Since coming to Miami, he has averaged 6.1 free throws per 36 minutes.

3. The Lakers will keep their first round pick provided it is in the top 5, otherwise it will belong to Philadelphia. The Lakers have a 74 percent chance of keeping their pick, according to BPI.

4. Ed Davis leads the Lakers in scoring efficiency with a true-shooting percentage of 60 percent and is seventh in the league with an offensive rebound percentage of 13 percent. The only 25-year-olds to have seasons at those levels or above since 2000 are DeAndre Jordan, Tyson Chandler, and Robin Lopez.

Hassan Whiteside, Alex Len fined

March, 4, 2015
Mar 4
12:31
AM ET

NEW YORK -- Phoenix Suns center Alex Len has been fined $20,000 for initiating an altercation with Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside and attempting to take him to the floor.

Whiteside has been fined $15,000 for escalating the incident by wrestling Len to the floor during Monday's game at Miami.

Suns forward Markieff Morris has been fined $15,000 for his flagrant-2 foul for making excessive contact above the shoulders with Heat guard Goran Dragic.

The fines were announced Tuesday by NBA executive Rod Thorn.

Miami won the game 115-98.


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The Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks have emerged as teams interested in free agent-to-be JaVale McGee, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN's Chris Broussard that the Golden State Warriors likewise have interest in signing McGee once the big man clears waivers Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Sources say McGee is drawing interest from a number of teams looking to add size after his release Sunday by the Philadelphia 76ers, who acquired McGee via trade from Denver on Feb. 19 and then waived him before Sunday's midnight playoff-eligiblity deadline, ensuring that the 7-footer would be eligible to play in the playoffs with another team this season.

After ESPN.com reported Sunday afternoon that the Sixers and McGee were engaged in buyout talks, Philadelphia ultimately consented to release the 27-year-old without forcing him to surrender any salary. McGee had roughly $3 million left from his $11.25 million salary this season when he was acquired by the Sixers and is owed $12 million next season.

The Sixers were willing on deadline day to take all that money on ‎because they were millions below the league's salary floor and because they also acquired a future first-round pick from the Nuggets, who simply wanted to move McGee out.


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The "Highly Questionable" crew examines who's at fault for their scuffle, Alex Len or Hassan Whiteside.
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Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey makes his pitch for James Harden as MVP and Charles Barkley as Sloan 2016 headliner.

NBA Top Plays

March, 2, 2015
Mar 2
11:59
PM ET


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Jerami Grant's block of Terrence Ross is the top play in the NBA.
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MIAMI -- Tyler Johnson scored a career-high 26 points, Goran Dragic added 21 against his former team and the Miami Heat beat the Phoenix Suns 115-98 on Monday night in a game that included two third-quarter altercations.

Hassan Whiteside finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds before getting ejected for Miami, which got 16 points and nine assists from Dwyane Wade.

Eric Bledsoe scored 20 for the Suns, who got 18 points and 13 rebounds from P.J. Tucker. Markieff Morris and Brandon Knight scored 13 apiece, and Alex Len had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

The story line was supposed to be Dragic facing the club that traded him to Miami last month, amid hurt feelings on both sides.

Emotions boiled over instead.


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SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Chris Bosh
PTS AST STL MIN
21.1 2.2 0.9 35.4
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsH. Whiteside 10.1
AssistsD. Wade 5.3
StealsM. Chalmers 1.7
BlocksH. Whiteside 2.5